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Motion sickness occurs when the body is subjected to accelerations of movement in different directions or under conditions where visual contact with the actual outside horizon is lost. The balance center of the inner ear then sends information to the brain that conflicts with the visual clues of apparently standing still in the interior cabin of a ship or airplane. Also known as car sickness, sea sickness, air sickness and travel sickness.
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: Stomach and esophagus.
Symptoms and indications: Queasiness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, rapid breathing, and pallor (loss of colour) which may progress to vomiting.
Causes and risk factors: Motion sickness occurs when the body, the inner ear (a tiny structure involved in hearing and balance), and the eyes send conflicting signals to the brain. This reaction is generally provoked by a moving vehicle such as a car, boat, airplane, or space shuttle, but it may also happen on flight simulators or amusement park rides. From inside a ship's cabin, the inner ear may sense rolling motions that the eyes cannot perceive, and, conversely, the eyes may perceive movement on a "virtual reality" simulation ride that the body does not feel. Interestingly, once a person adapts to the movement and the motion stops, the symptoms may recur and cause the person to adjust all over again (although, this reaction is generally brief). In addition, even anticipating movement can cause anxiety and symptoms of motion sickness. For example, a person with a previous experience of motion sickness may become nauseous on an airplane before take-off.
Prevention: Staying busy and occupied with an activity that distracts the mind from the swaying environment may help; Gazing at some distant fixed object like the horizon as soon as queasiness sets in may help; Alcohol, smoking and greasy foods should be avoided; Reading should be avoided while in motion; Some fresh air on the open deck of a ship or seeking areas of lesser movement on the ship may help reduce symptoms; and Cold compresses may be applied to the eyes and neck. Eat lightly before your trip and while travelling. Soups and steamed vegetables will help your stomach stay calm. If you feel queasiness coming on, suck on a slice of lemon or lime.